When you’re broadcasting content during a hybrid or virtual meeting, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Why would you want to start with a set-up that’s doomed to fail? If you’re depending on Wi-Fi internet, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
“For hybrid, the success of the meeting is dependent on having a good internet experience,” says Alex Wedesky, Encore Director of Internet Operations. “You need a more reliable connection to hinge your meeting on.” That’s why wired internet solutions are superior to Wi-Fi ones when you’re producing a hybrid event.
The downside to Wi-Fi
Why does relying on a Wi-Fi connection make your meeting vulnerable?
- Even a small group of people can have an intense internet demand, and Wi-Fi forces your meeting to share bandwidth with all the devices in the space.
- The stability of your connection could be jeopardized by a group of people outside your room, if they have devices that are trying to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
- The strength of a Wi-Fi network’s signal relies on the number of radios in the space that act as access points, how old they are, how old or new the device you’re using to connect to the internet is, the number of people connecting to the same network and your distance from the access point.
Using a wired internet connection eliminates all these disruptive elements, Wedesky says. Plus, it provides greater peace of mind.
“Free is not always the best option,” Wedesky says. “Free often means unsupported. You can’t troubleshoot free stuff.” Paying for a wired connection gives you a real-time support team whose job is to make sure your event isn’t interrupted by internet glitches.
Questions for event technology providers
Wedesky recommends meeting and event professionals ask the following questions to guarantee they secure the best possible internet solution for their hybrid event.
- Is there wired internet in the space?
- Can the venue provide the right bandwidth for your meeting?
- Will you be sharing bandwidth with other events happening at the same time?
- Does the venue have a failover or backup solution?
You want to be able to secure your camera and laptops to a wired internet line. Having a dedicated pool of bandwidth guarantees you’ll have the exact amount of bandwidth you need, and it will not ebb or collapse as other connected parties join. Finally, networks are no more reliable than cell phones. If yours goes down, you don’t want your participants’ screens to go blank. That’s why every event needs a failover or backup solution, even if your internet is on a wired connection.
Tiered internet solutions
Think of the internet as a highway. When a lot of people get on the road, you end up with a traffic jam. But, if you’re able to ride in the HOV lane, you can quickly bypass any hold-ups.
In terms of tiered internet solutions, using a Wi-Fi network or sharing bandwidth with other events is like being on a highway. You may not have any issues. Or you might find yourself at a standstill as demand clogs the road. The cost savings might not justify the risks. These types of connections are available at 3MB and 5MB speeds, which are adequate for streaming content, but may not be able to handle complex demands, like video playback and product demonstrations.
Want your own HOV lane? Talk to your event technology provider about dedicating bandwidth to your event with a wired internet connection. To provide this service, they will construct a VLAN network specific to your group inside the venue’s larger network. This dedicated connection also offers perks that can enhance the experience and provide additional monetization opportunities, such as:
- Customized/company-branded network name
- Splash page with customized content (e.g., terms and conditions, COVID policy, etc.)
- Automatic redirect to a target site, such as a company homepage or product offering, after participants log in
The benefits of working with an end-to-end event solution
“Overall, if Encore is providing all services, there are efficiencies we can add in,” Wedesky says. For example, being able to increase the amount of bandwidth if the meeting is approaching its limit to keep the broadcast stream from hiccupping.
Another perk Encore provides is a cellular back-up solution that can be ported into any facility. If anything happens to the internet connection, the cellular solution adds a layer of safety and comfort around the meeting and ensures it stays online.
“Encore also uses a content distribution network for most of our hybrid broadcasts. That can lower the bandwidth demand in some instances.”
Working with an all-in-one team like Encore also means that you’re eliminating some of the problems inherent when you work with multiple vendors.
“We can communicate with each other and know exactly how to get your content from capture to broadcast, Wedesky says. “Plus, there’s lots of great data we can capture when Encore is providing the total solution.”
Encore offers a variety of wired internet connection options to help meet your event’s needs. Speak to one of our professionals to learn more today!